The U.S. Department of Justice escalated its promised crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities Tuesday, saying it will no longer give cities coveted grant money unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released, reports the Chicago Tribune. Previously, cities seeking grant money needed only to show they were not preventing local law enforcement from communicating with immigration authorities about the citizenship status of someone in their custody.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “So-called sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes.” The new conditions apply to one of the Justice Department’s most popular grant programs, which provides police money to buy everything from bulletproof vests to body cameras. The requirements are scheduled to take effect in September. But it was not clear that Sessions could hold cities to such conditions, says the New York Times. Earlier this year, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump administration from withholding funding over sanctuary policies.